While the relative brevity of video game history has its downsides, there's at least one major benefit: Most of the important figures are still alive and surprisingly easy to talk to.
That said, this episode of Retronauts is actually Ron Gilbert's second Retronauts appearance. Back when we were on Some Other Website, I invited him on in 2012 for the 25th anniversary of Maniac Mansion (that's Retronauts Live episode 44 if you're keeping track). Seeing as 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of The Secret of Monkey Island, well... I did what any good retro gaming podcaster would do. I invited Gilbert into our cramped little recording studio to ask him questions he's probably heard before, but wouldn't mind answering again. And he was nice enough to say "yes!"
If you'd like to do a little recommended reading before this episode, I heartily endorse checking out Ron Gilbert's 1989 essay, "Why Adventure Games Suck and What We Can Do About It." A lot's changed in the 26 years since he wrote these Game Design Commandments, but, to this day, if an adventure game puzzle ends up pissing me off, it invariably broke one of Gilbert's rules. But even if your knowledge of this genre is limited, "Why Adventure Games Suck" should at least fill you in on why The Secret of Monkey Island represented such an important turning point for both LucasArts and the industry as a whole. This 1990 release proved that adventure games could be difficult in a way that still gave players a fighting chance, rather than punishing them for daring to experiment in these strange, new worlds.
If you'd like to check out Gilbert's newest effort, the throwback adventure game Thimbleweed Park, check out the project's blog. Oh and thanks to IGN's Ryan McCaffrey (of Podcast Unlocked fame) for coming in on such short notice! And, as always, you can keep up with the latest Retronauts news via our Twitter and Facebook accounts, and check out some of our video content over on our YouTube page. And, in case you forgot, Retronauts is fully funded by our Patreon campaign, so if you can afford to donate even a dollar a month, please consider it! Every little bit really helps our cause.